International Travelers to India Can Claim GST Refund

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in place in India, there is now a systematic, linear taxation process implemented which allows for a transparent, and simpler format. This also brings along with it some good news for the Non-Resident Indian visitor who may purchase goods during their stay in India. Under the new GST rule, they can obtain a refund of the GST paid on those goods at the time of exit from India. To be noted, this is applicable only for goods taken out of the country and not on goods consumed or services received during their stay in India.

This scheme currently adopted by 52 other countries, is intended to facilitate tourism, encourage purchases and support the “Make in India” initiative. According to Section 15 of the Goods and Services Tax Act, any individual who is “not normally resident of India, who enters India for a stay not more than six months for legitimate non-immigrant purposes” is eligible for a refund of the taxes paid for goods purchased while in India and is exiting. This is applicable to all retailers provided they register for this scheme and the GST refund system is available in designated airports and ports throughout India.

What is the procedure for claiming a GST refund?

The NRI visitor or foreign tourist can file an application electronically in Form GST RFD-01 through the GST Common Portal or through a GST Facilitation Center;

  • Have and record all invoices pertinent to the purchase made.
  • The Invoice number may be asked at various junctures of filing for the refund as well as at the time of the actual claiming of the refund.
  • An acknowledgement of the refund application is provided within 14 days, if application was accepted.
  • If not, the application is sent back with deficiencies. The requestor has to fulfil the requirements and refile.
  • The refund is granted within 60 days of filing.
  • Alternately, the visitor can also take the required paperwork to a designated GST facilitation center at the exitting airport and claim a refund with all paperwork in tow, provided that facility is a registered for this scheme.

This is among the many other advantages that the new GST bill offers NRIs like a consolidated tax system and access to cheaper real estate in India. For more incentives for NRIs within the GST bill, read After-Effects of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Bill on NRIs on Path2USA.